Page images

He bethink't her the very mait her made use o', means he begrudged it; while I never bethoughted nort 't-all 'bout it, means never recollected. [Beedhing'kt, beedhau'tud.]

Whether this latter should be classed as a development, there is some doubt.

Another advance apparently connected with increasing instruction is the more common use of the inflection us in the intransitive and frequentative form of verbs instead of the periphrastic do with the inflected pres. infin.

"I workus to factory," is now the usual form, whereas up to a recent period the same person would have said, "I do worky to factory." An old under-gardener, speaking of different qualities of fuel for his use, said, "The stone coal leeustus (lasts) zo much longer, and gees out morey it too"-i. e. does not burn so quickly. -Feb. 2, 1888. He certainly would have said a few years ago— "The stone coal du lec'ustee (do lasty) zo much longer." This form is also superseding the older form eth, which latter is now becoming rare in the Vale of West Somerset. (See IV. S. Gram. p. 52.)

Board schools are certainly to be credited with a new word for steel-pens. These are now known and spoken of as singles, meaning the pens alone, without the holder. "Plase, sir, I wants a new single." In the shops boys and girls ask for "a pen'oth o' singles ;” but how the word has got into use, or whence it came, is unknown to the writer.

Another change has lately become noticeable. In p. 21, W. S. Dialect, 1875, is the statement that no case was then known "where either an s or z sound is dropped."

On Jan. 24, 1888, a labourer living all his life in Culmstock said. very distinctly twice over, Muunees for must I not? [Mus draa aew't dhu duung fuus', muun'ees ?] must draw out the dung first, must I not? There can be no doubt that this form is now becoming the common one, whereas it used to be muus nees.

These minute alterations are doubtless numerous, but are certain to escape the notice of all but watchful observers; while many of them may have been long in use before they may be used in the hearing of the most careful listener. They are here inserted not only as records, but as finger-posts to any who may take the pains to read these pages, to point out one very interesting path of observation which they may profitably pursue.




To those who have not the Table of Glossic Letters drawn up by Alexander J. Ellis, Esq., F.R.S., in p. 24, W. S. Dialect, the following brief abstract of the system will be found convenient. The Consonants b, d, f, j, k, l, m, n, p, t, v, w, y, z, and the digraphs ch, sh, th, have their usual values; g is always hard, as in gig; h initial as in ho! (only used for emphasis in this dialect); s as in so, never as in his; r is reversed or cerebral, not dental or alveolar, and ought properly to be written r, but for convenience simple r is printed; ng as in sing, think thingk; ngg as in anger = ang.gur; zh is used for French j, the English sound in vision vizhun; and dh for the voiced form of th, as in that dhat. The Vowels, found also in English, are a as in man; aa in bazaar; aa short, the same in quality, but quantity short; ai in aid; ao, like o in bore; au as in laud; au the same short as a in watch; ee in see; če, the same short, as in French fini; i as in finny; oa as in moan; oa, the same short (not found in English); oo in choose; u in up, carrot; uo, u in bull. Dialectal vowels are ae, opener than e in net, French è in nette; èo, French eu in jeune, or nearly; èo the same long as in jeûne; ue, French u in duc or nearly; ùe the same long, as in dû; uu, a deeper sound of u in up than the London one, but common in England generally; ua, a still lower and deeper sound; ú (now used for Mr. Ellis's oe No. 28, and ì, èo, ŭo, No. 30 -see Dr. Murray's note, p. 112, W. S. Gram.) is the natural vowel heard with 7 in kind-le = kind'ul. It lies between in and un, and etymologically is a lowered and retracted i, as túmur, zúl timber, sill. The diphthongs aaw as in Germ. haus; aary long aa, finishing with i, as in Ital. mai; aay the same with shorter quantity (a frequent form of English I); aew, ae finishing in oo, sometimes heard in vulgar London pronunciation as kaew cow; auy as in boy (nearly); auy with the first element longer or drawled ; uw=ow in how; uy, as in buy i, y in bite, by; uuy, the same a little wider, under influence of a preceding w, as pwuuyzn poison. Imperfect diphthongs, and triphthongs, or fractures formed by a long vowel or diphthong finishing off with the sound of й, or the natural


[ocr errors]




faeŭ); ao й


vowel, are numerous; thus aeй (nearly as in fair (as in more mao'ů): eeu (as in idea, near); oau (barely distinct from ao ŭ, say as in grower : groaŭ); ooй (as in woo'er =- woo'ů); aawu (as in our broadly; aayu; aewй; uwй (as flower fluwů); uyu (as in ire = uyu). Of the imperfect diphthongs eeй and oo'ũ, from the distinctness of their initial and terminal sounds, are most distinctly diphthongal to the ear, the stress being also pretty equal on the two elements. The turned period after a vowel, as oo', indicates length and position of accent; after a consonant it indicates shortness of the vowel in the accented syllable, as vadhŭr = vădh'ur. As a caution, the mark of short quantity is written over če, ča, when short, as these are never short in English; and it is used with й when this has the obscure unaccented value found in ă-bove, mannă, nation, etc.* The peculiar South-western must be specially attended to, as it powerfully affects the character of the pronunciation. It is added in its full strength to numerous words originally ending in a vowel, and whenever written it is to be pronounced, not used as a mere vowel symbol as in Cockney winder, tomorrer, etc. That sound is here expressed by u, as win du,


A reference to the table above named and to the classified word lists following it, will be found useful.

Glossic words are usually enclosed within square brackets []the pronunciation of the "catch" word being always so given. Occasionally, however, glossic words inserted in conventionally spelt sentences are in italics.

The use of hyphens in no way affects the pronunciation. They are merely used, as in connecting the prefix to the past participle, to show that the inflection is a part of the word, or in other cases to mark division of syllables.

The mark) following h shows that the initial aspirate is only sounded when the word is used emphatically.

Similarly the mark ( before final d or t shows these letters to be sounded only when followed by a vowel.

*In the following pages this caution does not apply, a modified system having been adopted, as compared to that used in the grammar for which this key was prepared.

All vowels, therefore, whether single or in combination, are to be pronounced as short, unless followed by the turned period.


A. This word-letter has been so exhaustively dealt with in the New English Dictionary, that it becomes difficult to treat of its dialectal peculiarities without in some measure travelling over the ground which Dr. Murray has already explored. The following uses of it will be found outside his remarks except in those cases where he has specially given them as dialectal, or as obsolete in modern literature.

I. A. 1. The printed capital A [ae'u], commonly called [guurt ae'u,] great A, to distinguish it from the small a, called [lee'dl ae'u,] little a.

Before the Board schools, children always spelt Aaron—[guurt aeu, lee'dl ae'u, aar oa ain].

2. [u] adj. or indef. art. Used before vowels and consonarts alike. In the dialect an is not heard in this sense. The use of a very commonly causes an aspirate to follow; as [u heks] for an axe, [u haa'pl,] an apple, &c. [Ee-d u-gaut u huum'un laung wai un,] he had a woman with him. [Plaiz tu spae'ur mae ustur u auk seed u sai dur,] please to spare master a (h)ogshead of cider. For opynlyche in story fynd y not writon,

pat hit a evel spirite was.-1450, Chron. Vil. st. 386.

3. [ae'u] adj. - definitely.

A Emperour was in þes toun

A riche man, of gret renoun

Octouien was his name.

Weber's Met. Roman. Seuyn Sages, l. 1229.

Therfor hit is a unhonest thyng.-Boke of Curtasye, 1. 265.

Used emphatically to denote one, or, a certain

[Aay bee saaf dhur wuz ae'u bèok taap dhu tae'ubl,] I am certain there was one book upon the table. This means as distinctly that it was a book and nothing else, as that there was only one.

4. [u] adj. Very frequently used before nouns of multitude or numerals; after about or any adverb expressing indefiniteness



always as a many, a few, a plenty. We shall have a plenty o' gooseberries. There was about of a forty. I should think 'twas purty near a fifty.

Bot que Kyng Alured had regnyd þus her'

A bouzte a thretty long wynter.

1450, Chron. Vilod. st. 160. Thonetoun alias Tawntoun is a 5 miles by south-west from Athelney.— Leland's Itin. vol. ii. p. 66. A four miles or more. (So used very frequently by Leland.)

5. [ŭ] adj. One and the same as in the common phrases, all of a sort, all of a piece, i. e. all alike. Same's the crow zaid by the heap o' toads, They be all of a sort.

II. A [u], v. Have, when followed by a consonant: sometimes written ha, but seldom aspirated. This is the commonest of all the forms, and it is occasionally heard even before a vowel.

[Dhai-d u bún kaapikl neef dhai-d u buyd u beet,] they would have been capital if they had waited a little. [Búl'ee wúdn u ait dhai zaaw'ur aa plz bee úz zuul,] Billy would not have eaten those sour apples by himself-i. e. of his own accord, or unless tempted by others.1

A common emphatic form is [ae'u], as when two friends meet, the second sentence is usually, [Haut-l-ee aeu?], what will you have? (to drink).

He stynte and pozte no3t remuye hem þere til he ha fozt is fille.

1380. Sir Ferumbras, 1. 77. (See also 1. 954.)

III. A. 1. [ŭ] pron. I, ego. [Neef u waudn tu keep mi uyz oap, shèod zùen laust ut aul, u bleev,] if I were not to keep my eyes open, (I) should soon lose it all, I believe. (Very com.)

[Dhae⚫ur u goouth,

2. [u] pron. He. Often written a and ha. dúsn zee un?], there he goes, dost not see him? [U zaed zoa, dúdn u?], he said so, did he not?

Nixt þan ha zette strengbe.

1340. Dan Michel, Ayenbite of Inwyt (Morris and Skeat), p. 99, 1. 24.

Wan he was armed on horses bak a fair kny3t a was to see.
Sir Ferumbras, 1. 250.
A lefte ys sper and drow ys swerd-Ibid. 1. 570.

So used in this poem at least thirty-one times.

And a scholle passe þe se, and trauayle in strange londes.

1387. John of Trevisa, Norman Invasion, 1. 188.

Ha bed tha zet down, &c.-Ex. Scold. 1. 167, et alia.

In this example, as very frequently happens, two a's would come together, i. e. a [u] = have, and a [u] = the prefix to the past part. (See below.) Thus expanded the sentence would be, [Búl'ee wúdn u uait] in these cases one of these identical sounds is dropped as above.

« PreviousContinue »